I Guess We Need Real Jobs, Too

She seems to be enjoying office life? Maybe?

She seems to be enjoying office life? Or is there existential doubt behind that smile?

I just started reading Anne Patchett’s book, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. It seems cool. The very first sentence of the introduction is:

“The tricky thing about being a writer, or about being any kind of artist, is that in addition to art you also have to make a living.”

Ah, that is tricky. I guess this isn’t the book that will give me 5 steps to becoming a bestselling novelist. No, it’s probably going to tell me something else, like maybe the truth or something. And that’s nice.

I haven’t gotten very much farther through it, or even out of the introduction. She does go on to compare her novels to her dogs, which I liked, because I like anything compared to dogs.

But mostly I liked the cold-hard-truth of that first line. That as poor writers we’ll probably all have day jobs, at least for a while. That we’ll probably have to go to grad school, because we’ll probably have to teach, maybe, someday. That we’ll have to figure out how to make a living, in addition to figuring out how to make art.

And that’s fine*. We can work like the rest of the world, I guess. We can find social media and editorial jobs that seem okay. And we can also make art, and we can talk about making art, and we can complain about not being paid for our art. Because that’s what this blog, or writer friends, or writing groups are for. The art part of living.

(*Note: none of this is to say that if you want to buy this blog for a large sum and make all of us poor writers rich, we won’t take it. We’ll find other things to complain about. Like not enough donuts in our private jets, or something.)

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